Associate Board

WHEDco’s Associate Board is a growing group of young professionals in their 20s and 30s who are passionate about WHEDco’s mission to create thriving neighborhoods for families in the South Bronx, the nation’s poorest urban Congressional District.

The Associate Board supports this mission through a number of volunteer and fundraising projects around WHEDco’s work in areas including: education and youth development; urban farming and healthy living; commercial revitalization and small business development; and arts programming.

The Associate Board plays a strategic role in developing awareness of WHEDco’s programs, and providing opportunities for WHEDco’s growth by leveraging social media, events, and individual fundraising to support overall goals. Associate Board members have opportunities to create, plan and participate in service activities (volunteer days, volunteer drives, awareness campaigns, etc.); help plan and host fundraising events (happy hours, crowd-funding campaigns, etc.); and interact with WHEDco staff and Board of Directors. Learn more about the Roles & Responsibilities.

New candidates are typically recruited in the spring of each year, depending on annual turn-over and availability of open seats.

Subscribe to WHEDco’s e-list and follow us on Facebook to receive updates from the Associate Board!

Contact Meredith Leverich at or 718.839.1157 for more information.

Current Associate Board Members

Danielle Ash

Danielle is a partner in the Real Estate Department of the law firm of Adler & Stachenfeld LLP. In her role, she represents a diverse group of real estate developers, family offices, equity funds, mortgage and mezzanine lenders in a wide variety of commercial real estate transactions in New York and throughout the United States. She is a Board Member of Women in Housing and Finance (New York Chapter), an industry group that promotes and supports members’ professional growth through sharing knowledge and exploring issues, with a particular focus on women in the affordable housing, community development and real estate finance sectors. She was also previously a member of the New York City Bar Committee on Housing and Urban Development, which addresses legal and policy issues on affordable housing preservation and development in New York City. She received her J.D. from New York Law School, where she was a scholar in the school’s Center for Real Estate Studies and her Bachelor’s from Columbia University in the City of New York, where she majored in Urban Studies. She is a life-long New Yorker – born and raised on the Upper West Side, where she still resides.

Angela Bonato

Angela Bonato is Maverick Capital Foundation’s Program Officer. Maverick Capital Foundation aims to alleviate poverty by researching and identifying effective interventions, funding, and strategically partnering with nonprofits. Since its inception, MCF has donated over $30 million to nonprofits in NYC, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Miami.

Prior to joining Maverick Capital, Angela had 8 years of experience working in nonprofits across NYC, serving under-resourced youth through afterschool postsecondary access and success programming. Most recently, Angela worked at The Fresh Air Fund, where she was the Program Manager of a weekly mentoring program for 100 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students, and 45 corporate volunteers.

Bret Collazzi

Bret is a Principal at HR&A, a national economic development consulting firm, where he works to revitalize neighborhoods and broaden economic opportunity in cities. Among his recent projects are the Renewable Rikers concept plan, downtown investment strategies for the South Bronx and the North Shore of Staten Island, and the OneNYC citywide plan. He has advised clients across New York City and State and in markets ranging from Newark to New Orleans to Detroit. Prior to HR&A, Bret worked for the New York City Council and was managing editor of the Bronx Times Reporter. He holds an M.B.A. from Cornell University and a B.A. from New York University. He is a proud Bronx native.

Will D’Avella

William D’Avella is a real estate development professional with experience managing the full life cycle of mixed-use, public-private projects with complex financing and partnership structures. William is a Developer at Pennrose where he directs projects in varying stages of development located throughout New York State. He holds a Master’s of Real Estate from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University.

Latchmi Gopal

Latchmi Gopal is a campaign strategist who focuses on electoral based issue campaigns. She is currently the Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships at Unemployed Workers United, (UWU), and specializes in community organizing, coalition development, electoral and grassroots training, and fundraising strategies. She is a first generation Guyanese- American, Bronx Native, and the eldest daughter of immigrants who taught her how to invest in community and fight for justice. She began centering economic liberation as a necessary aspect of all her campaigns after working at Demos, a national public policy think tank that focuses on issues such as raising the minimum wage and reducing student debt. She was previously on the national leadership team with By The People, a movement holding the presidential administration accountable by building local support throughout the country to call for the impeachment and removal of Trump. Most recently, as the National Distributed Organizer for the Bernie 2020 Presidential Campaign, she created and executed a national canvassing program to mobilize thousands to vote and participate politically.

Latchmi graduated from Boston University with a degree in Political Science and Public Health. Latchmi prioritizes creating spaces that are full of people power and elevating stories that are too often silenced in order to encourage civic engagement and personal healing to create a more equitable and just world.

Erika Hval

John F. Kenny

John Kenny is a Vice President in Citizenship at Barclays where he leads on initiatives aimed at driving social impact. John oversees Barclays’ volunteer programs in the Americas and identifies ways to leverage Barclays human capital in order to maximize the firm’s impact. Before joining the Citizenship team John worked in Finance at Barclays, including roles in regulatory reporting and the commodities group. In 2013, John founded and organized a seven day, 130 mile walk from Brooklyn to Montauk for three consecutive years to raise funds and awareness for the Developmental Disabilities Institute, a nonprofit serving children and adults through educational, medical and housing services. John received his BS, summa cum laude, from St. John’s University, where he graduated first in his class in the Tobin College of Business. John majored in Finance and minored in Spanish and International Studies.

Danielle Nicholson

Cassandra O’Hearn

Cassandra is an urban planner dedicated to preserving and developing affordable housing and walkable, equitable neighborhoods. Her passion for urban life grew out of an instant love for New York City on her first visit in June of 2001. She finally moved from the West Coast to the West Village while completing her Masters in Urban Planning at New York University and settled in Fort Greene, Brooklyn after graduation. Her degree culminated with a capstone project researching the growth of the technology sector in the South Bronx which she collaborated on with four other students and presented to the Office of the Bronx Borough President. Cassandra has worked and volunteered for several community focused nonprofit organizations across the city. Cassandra remains dedicated to protecting and preserving affordability and diversity, especially for residents of low and median income communities.

Michael Paranac

Michael has been a volunteer tutor with the WHEDco Teen Program since 2013, specifically helping high school students with homework, test preparation, and all aspects of the college admissions process. He currently works in real estate development after several years in finance. He is also an active supporter of StrikeOUT Cystic Fibrosis and previously volunteered with the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at New York Presbyterian. He graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in History, and is pursuing an MBA at Columbia Business School.

Martha Perez-Pedemonti

Ariadne Reza

Ariadne Reza is an Associate Relationship Manager with Citi Community Investing and Development. In this role, she represents Citi among community partners in The Bronx and Queens. In this role, she has additionally supported programs supporting economic empowerment for vulnerable populations, including EmpoweredNYC, the first municipal financial empowerment program tailored for people with disabilities. Ariadne was born in Mexico City, grew up in Queens and holds a B.A. from the City University of New York. In her free time, she is a volunteer tutor, practices yoga, and enjoys reading.

Anthony Ramirez II

Anthony Ramirez II is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Mainland Media. Anthony grew up in the Parkchester section of The Bronx. After graduating with a BA in Economics from Columbia University, he moved back to The Bronx to administer after school programs for The South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation’s (SoBRO) Youth Development Center. Most recently, he worked with The NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) as the Director of Youth Connect, a highly-acclaimed information & referral service which connects youth and families to services throughout the City, and managed the agencies digital outreach. Anthony co-founded Mainland Media and its subsidiary From The Bronx in March 2006 with a mission to help improve the image of the Bronx, New York and to prove to the world that the Bronx is as rich with culture and history as any other place in the world. Mainland Media opened The Bronx Beer Hall in February 2013 to further its mission.

Paul Ramirez

Paul Ramirez is a Managing Partner with Mainland Media. Paul was born and raised in the Parkchester section of The Bronx. He received his BA in Philosophy with a specialization in Ethics and Public Policy, and a BS in Music from The Bronx’s own Lehman College. Shortly after graduation, Paul worked as the Deputy Director of Wildcat Service Corporation’s Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP).YAIP provides young adults with 14 weeks of paid orientation, training and work followed by 9 months of follow-up services and assistance for placement in permanent jobs, training programs and educational opportunities. While working as the Deputy Director of YAIP, Paul also managed several Bronx-based musical acts, including The Steven Oquendo Latin Jazz Orchestra. Paul joined Mainland Media and its subsidiary From The Bronx in June 2010, and opened The Bronx Beer Hall in February 2013.


Associate Board Alumni

Digser Abreu

Vedan Anthony-North

Lovie Arthur

Jesse Baumgartner

Becca Broches

Kaitlyn Cawley

Ally Fermin

Kate Gallagher

Triveni Gandhi

Roger Gill

Scott Harris

Daniel Lipschutz

Dre Manning

Mary Paranac

Cristian Ramos

Kimberly Thibault

Emerita Torres